EPA releases final risk assessment on trichloroethylene, a lead contaminant at local CTS site

From the EPA Headquarters: EPA Releases Final Risk Assessment on Trichloroethylene (TCE) Agency begins process to address potential human health risks WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a final risk assessment for trichloroethylene (TCE). The assessment identified health risks from TCE exposures to consumers using spray aerosol degreasers and spray fixatives.  It […]

Out in the open: Locals react to CTS contamination report, press for action

About 50 people gathered at the Skyland Fire Department this afternoon to see an in-depth WLOS report on the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site. Many, residents of the Mills Gap Road area, have lived with the specter of the nearby pollution for more than a decade. They expressed their hope for a clean-up, an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency’s handling of the matter and renewed pressure on legislators.

Community gathers to watch CTS contamination report, call for accountability

Residents of the Mills Gap Road area, who live near the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site will hold a viewing of WLOS’ hour-long investigative report on the issue this afternoon. The residents, many active for years in bringing attention to the problem, will renew their call for accountability from the Environmental Protection Agency and a full clean-up.

NC House committee issues subpoenas to compel EPA officials to testify on CTS

A North Carolina House Select Committee has issued subpoenas to compel key EPA officials, including Superfund Branch Chief Don Rigger, to testify in a hearing in Raleigh next month, even as Mills Gap Road-area residents file a formal complaint of criminal negligence against the agency in the case of the former CTS of Asheville, and another Mills Gap home receives an emergency supply of bottled water from the EPA. Photo by Susan Andrew.

New contamination emerges in Mills Gap; neighbors await municipal water hookups-attachment0

New contamination emerges in Mills Gap; neighbors await municipal water hookups

At a kitchen table in the Mills Gap community in South Asheville last night, neighbors of the former CTS of Asheville plant met to plan next steps, after two new domestic wells nearby recently tested positive for industrial contaminants including cyanide.  CTS has signed an agreement with EPA to provide filtration to all homes within a one-mile radius of the recently demolished plant; but neighbors say they were anticipating municipal water hookups.

EPA rejects CTS plan for soil sampling; says more robust plan needed for Mills Gap site-attachment0

EPA rejects CTS plan for soil sampling; says more robust plan needed for Mills Gap site

The EPA has rejected a plan submitted by CTS to investigate the current extent of contamination at its former plant site on Mills Gap Road. The site is presently awaiting final approval to EPA’s National Priorities List, a move expected to place it alongside the other “Superfund” sites, the most contaminated sites on EPA’s national docket. Photo by Katie Damien.

EPA seeks action, demands CTS and current owners cover costs on proposed Superfund site in Mills Gap-attachment0

EPA seeks action, demands CTS and current owners cover costs on proposed Superfund site in Mills Gap

In a letter dated September 13, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency has demanded payment of $6.5 million dollars to cover costs already incurred in its efforts to deal with contaminated ground water and soils near the former CTS of Asheville plant, located on Mills Gap Road in South Asheville. Meanwhile, Buncombe County Commissioners have postponed until November 1 their consideration of a decision to demolish the derelict building at taxpayer expense. Photo: Officials from EPA’s Superfund Branch stand at the gate to the CTS property during a recent sampling trip. Photo by Susan Andrew.

CTS property owner appeals condemnation-attachment0

CTS property owner appeals condemnation

In an Oct. 6 letter to the Buncombe County Clerk, CTS property owner Mills Gap Road Associates appealed the county’s recent order that the building be demolished, saying that it would continue to cooperate with EPA. That agency is moving to place the property on the National Priorities List, a.k.a. Superfund, which would rank the Mills Gap site among the most contaminated properties in the nation.

Local Matters: County Commission, CTS, Women In Business and more food trucks-attachment0

Local Matters: County Commission, CTS, Women In Business and more food trucks

In this edition of the Mountain Xpress’ local news podcast: Jake Frankel on the most recent Buncombe County Commission meeting; Susan Andrew with the latest on the CTS cleanup; Tracy Rose on the Women In Business supplement and David Forbes on the Asheville City Council meeting about downtown food trucks.

When there’s a Superfund site next door: Neighbors anticipate demolition of CTS plant-attachment0

When there’s a Superfund site next door: Neighbors anticipate demolition of CTS plant

Larry Rice stands at the fence surrounding the spring that once provided his family’s drinking water. Contamination of the spring by hazardous chemicals, presumably from the former CTS of Asheville property immediately uphill, led to the area being fenced off by the state. EPA staff are hosting a “public availability session” regarding the site this evening at the Skyland Fire Department.

Whole Foods: The bigger the worse?

Whole Foods Market of Austin,Texas, recently bought Greenlife Grocery’s two stores for about $15 million. When one reads the literature about Whole Foods, it is easy to lose count of the smaller, organic, green local food markets this $8 billion dollar, multinational corporation has bought out. I, for instance, didn't know that the $1 billion, […]

Local Matters: County Budget, City Council and EPA updates for CTS-attachment0

Local Matters: County Budget, City Council and EPA updates for CTS

In this week’s Local Matters podcast, Xpress news editor Margaret Williams talks to reporter David Forbes about Buncombe County’s budget woes, and environmental reporter Susan Andrew about the latest news from the EPA about the polluted CTS site. Xpress freelancer Christopher George also presents a rundown of last week’s City Council meeting.

EPA proposes CTS property as Superfund site


Emotions ran high at a March 10 press conference and community meeting at the Skyland Fire Department concerning the former CTS of Asheville plant. As uniformed police officers wearing bulletproof vests kept watch, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials announced that the plant and adjacent Mills Gap Road property have been proposed for addition to the National Priorities List of hazardous-waste sites. Addition to the list would rank the property among the most contaminated sites in the nation, qualifying it for cleanup under the Superfund program.
Photos by Jonathan Welch

Heath Shuler deserves our thanks

Environmental laws took a battering in the U.S. House last week as Republicans passed a continuing resolution … packed with provisions to roll back and de-fund a slew of federal rules aimed at controlling climate change and protecting clean air and water. Along with other provisions in the continuing resolution that passed were ones that […]

EPA branch chief pledges CTS site will be cleaned up-attachment0

EPA branch chief pledges CTS site will be cleaned up

In a perhaps unintended act of irony, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency representatives offered bottled water, chocolates and rubber squeeze balls in the image of the Earth to neighbors of the contaminated former CTS site during a Sept. 9 community meeting.

Don Rigger, a key official from the Region IV office in Atlanta, apologized for the agency’s past mistakes and assured the long-suffering neighbors of the Mills Gap Road site that it will be cleaned up — though he stopped short of saying when.